Saturday, May 15, 2010

On Being Steadfast in the Desert

It has been a long time since I wrote. But this is not an observation of the ditsy variety. I am honestly saddened that I haven't much been in the mood for writing. As many of you who read this may observe, I usually write after I've pooled my thoughts and honed my emotions. Not many "depths of despair" (To quote the beloved Anne of Green Gables. She does need a good shout out every once in a while) posts here. So put two and two together and you'll see why its been so long since I've written. Being in the dull-drums is not good fodder happy thoughts and I, unfortunately, do not have the gift of the Psalmist David. I am not good at crying out (either in despair and praise) when I'm "sitting at the bottom of my well." I used that phrase on a Facebook status a few weeks back and really freaked some people out. It was not meant to be the end of the world. Just the image that popped into my head during this desert time. 

Anyway, it's a year since I graduated from Loyola. I've been a Master of the Arts for a year. I don't feel like a master of anything at the moment. That's probably the way God likes it. But I have the unfortunate tendency to want control, to be able to place my ducks in a row and look to the well planned future. Not at all embodying the Noble Woman of Proverbs 31(v. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come). I've been wringing my hands in worry at the times to come. Wondering what God is playing at, putting me through all this waiting. On really bad days I incorrectly blame it all on my passive, introverted self. But then I remember, if I was relying on myself for anything, I would get no where. So that's not it. God must have a plan. A purpose for this season. Back in August, maybe even reaching towards November I was okay with waiting. But now it's May and I am still where I was a year ago.

Ironically, (and appropriately--for God is One with a sense of humor) our church small group is studying the book of James this summer. It gets better folks, I'm facilitating the Thursday night group. Not only to have I have to listen to James' wise words (1:2-4): "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds. For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." But I have to teach them.

As a group, we are going to try to memorize portions of James, starting with these first three verses. I often read the NIV, but our "pew" Bibles at church are ESV. So I, at least, have decided to use that translation. The NIV uses the word "persevere." But the ESV choses "steadfast." Now I am a visual learner. And as soon as I read this word, I got an image in my head that has really helped me. A stead is a post, something securely positioned, immovable. And so I have created my own definition of the word "steadfast" , as pertains to this passage, and for me as I find myself in this desert season.

Steadfastness: the act of holding on firmly to the immovable Jesus.

I guess that's all I can do right now. The next step will be joy--odd as that seems.
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